GORDON TO LOSE POINTS LEAD AT RICHMOND RICHMOND, Va. (September 4, 2007) -- While Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont will attempt to capture their fifth victory of the season at Richmond International Raceway, their commanding 317-point lead -- nearly...
GORDON TO LOSE POINTS LEAD AT RICHMOND
RICHMOND, Va. (September 4, 2007) -- While Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont will attempt to capture their fifth victory of the season at Richmond International Raceway, their commanding 317-point lead -- nearly two races worth of points after 25 races -- will evaporate at the conclusion of Saturday night's Chevy Rock and Roll 400. In fact, Gordon needs to win just to be tied atop the standings heading into the final 10 races.
Beginning this year, NASCAR expanded the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup field to 12. Each of the 12 drivers will have their points reset to 5,000, with bonus points awarded for the number of victories accrued through race No. 26. Gordon's four wins and 40 bonus points would trail teammate Jimmie Johnson's total of five victories and 50 bonus points if neither win at Richmond.
"I'm just glad we've already clinched a spot and don't have to worry about racing our way in this weekend," said Gordon. "I think our points lead is a credit to how this team has performed this year. "But we know it's a whole new season once those final 10 races begin. Any one of the 12 drivers can win the championship, which is why the Chase is so exciting."
Eight of the 12 spots are clinched, and two more drivers only need to start the race to earn their spot. While three drivers are still in contention for the final two spots, Gordon believes the battle for the 10 bonus points might provide an interesting subplot.
"I think this could be a race where guys are really fighting hard to get those bonus points and get positioned a little bit better for the Chase," said Gordon. "It could be just as exciting as guys trying to make it in the Chase."
In 29 starts at the three-quarter mile track, Gordon has two wins, five poles, 11 top- fives and 17 top-10's. But the four-time champion struggled at the Virginia track in 2005 and 2006 -- his best finish during that four-race stretch was 30th -- before turning that around with a fourth-place finish from the pole in May. That run coincided with the introduction of the "Car of Tomorrow" at Richmond.
"I love Richmond," said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet in Saturday night's event. "It's a great track, but it wasn't much fun for us the past couple of seasons. We won the pole here in the spring and finished well with the Impala SS, so we're looking forward to this weekend and learning a little bit more about the 'Car of Tomorrow. "We're going in pretty relaxed, but we're going in to fight hard for another victory."